REGINA — The Brandon Wheat Kings are right where they want to be: Coming back home with a 2-0 series lead on the Regina Pats.
The Wheat Kings scored five times in the second period on their way to an 8-4 pasting of the Pats on Sunday night at the Brandt Centre.
"Of course it feels good, but coming into the next game we’ve got to think like it’s 0-0," said Tim McGauley, who had two goals and an assist for the Wheat Kings, who host Game 3 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final on Wednesday (Westman Place, 7 p.m.) "… We’ve got to keep playing as hard as we’ve been playing against these guys. We know they’re going to be coming out as hard as they can."
Seven Brandon players scored on Sunday, led by McGauley’s pair. Richard Nejezchleb had a goal and two assists for Brandon, while Ryley Lindgren and Ryan Pulock each had a goal and a helper. Jens Meilleur, John Quenneville and Nolan Patrick also scored for the Wheat Kings.
All four Brandon lines scored, and Wheat Kings head coach and general manager Kelly McCrimmon lauded the efforts of the fourth line of Lindgren, Meilleur and Tyler Coulter.
"I thought the Lindgren line was really key for our team tonight," McCrimmon said. "They scored two of our first three goals; those are real big goals in a hockey game. They played lots of shifts against all different matchups and really our white line (named for the white jerseys they wear in practice) has done a real good job both nights for our team."
Connor Gay, Morgan Klimchuk, Boston Leier and Dryden Hunt replied for the Pats.
After effectively putting themselves out of Saturday’s 6-3 loss before the first intermission by allowing four first-period goals, the Pats got the first goal from Gay only 1:37 into Sunday’s game.
The Pats had some other early chances, but couldn’t beat Brandon goalie Jordan Papirny, who finished with 27 saves, and those missed opportunities proved to be costly. Meilleur and McGauley struck before the first period was over, getting the Wheat Kings rolling before their second-period explosion.
"I thought the balance of the first period was really a key stretch in the game, because they did score first tonight, they did have the early momentum in the game," McCrimmon said. "(Saturday) night when they got the momentum it was so hard to get back, so for us to be able to get 16 shots on goal in the first, come back, tie the game and then take the lead after one was, I thought, a really important stretch of the game."
Klimchuk’s short-handed goal was the only blemish in Brandon’s second-period outburst, which included goals 30 seconds apart by Pulock and 15-year-old phenom Patrick.
The Pats made the game interesting in the third, cutting the Wheat Kings’ lead to 7-4, but McGauley scored his second of the night on the power play to end any lingering doubts about the outcome.
ONE-TIMERS: Pats G Dawson MacAuley made 34 saves … After playing for the Wheat Kings in Game 1, D Eric Roy and RW Peter Quenneville were both forced to sit out Sunday, with Roy being replaced by D Kord Pankewicz, while Coulter filled Quenneville’s lineup spot and earned two assists in his first career playoff game … Brandon LW Braylon Shmyr and LW Brett Kitt were scratched for the second straight game … The Pats got RW Dyson Stevenson back from a broken hand, but continue to play without G Daniel Wapple (ankle).